Grocery stores and Green Globes

Many supermarkets, including Whole Foods, are being certified under the Green Globes rating program. Photo © Alistair Tutton
Many supermarkets, including Whole Foods, are being certified under the Green Globes rating program. Photo © Alistair Tutton

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) announced there was a wave of certifications for new grocery stores under its Green Globes rating program in July.

The properties include Whole Foods, Price Choppers, Aldi’s, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, and Publix stores across the country, along with New Seasons Markets in Oregon.

New Seasons director of construction and facilities, Wayne Pipes, said Green Globes certification helps validate the company’s sustainability story.

“We were the first B-Corp grocer in the world—sustainability is part of our DNA,” he explained. “We’re classified a zero-waste company, and using less energy is part of who we are. Green Globes help make our mission clear throughout the community at large as we continue to grow.”

According to GBI president Jerry Yudelson, there are numerous advantages for grocery stores to pursue Green Globes as a rating program.

“Grocers’ need for refrigeration make energy-efficient construction and operations especially critical, both from an environmental and an economic standpoint,” he said. “Green Globes is ideal for retail environments because of its integration with the Energy Star program—which includes supermarkets as a building occupancy category—and because it accommodates different building scenarios by not applying penalties for features that aren’t applicable.”

To date, nearly 50 Whole Foods stores have either been certified to Green Globes, or are now in the process. Last year, the chain also began taking its first existing building through the rating program—a Portland, Oregon, facility that earned a Three Green Globes Rating—explained Pacific Northwest Region construction manager Bob Gordon.

“If you’re looking for ways to reduce your building footprint or wondering where your facility stands on the green spectrum, this process has a lot of merit,” he said. “The comprehensive evaluation looked at both how the building was built and is operated. It will help us piece together a preventative maintenance program for the whole region.”

The Green Globes certification process also incorporates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) GreenChill Store Certification Program for Food Retailers, which recognizes individual stores for using commercial refrigeration systems with reduced environmental impact. (Stores also can achieve certification under GreenChill itself.)

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